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Thursday, Feb 10, 2005

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Career Launcher to expand base

Nina Varghese

Chennai , Feb. 9

CAREER Launcher, a Delhi-based company with interest in the education business, is expanding its presence in the country and West Asia.

It plans to cover 10 more cities to the 51 it is already present in, and raise the number of locations to 100 by the year-end, according to Mr Gautam Puri, Managing Director, Career Launcher.

The company was set up in 1996 and has trained over 80,000 students for MBA, IIT-JEE, five-year integrated law course and BBA entrance tests and school exit exams.

The mode of delivery is partly in classroom, distance education and through VSAT, from one central studio to multiple classroom locations across the country. Career Launcher also uses the Voice Over Internet Protocol to take coaching to the home of the student, he said.

So far, Career Launcher's focus has been the MBA entrance test. Last year, 23,000 of the total 28,000 students who enrolled were management aspirants. Mr Puri said in the coming year, growth would come from engineering and law streams.

The education business in India is booming with the number of students writing the professional exams growing by the year. Mr Puri said 90 per cent of the market was in the unorganised sector and some cities had emerged as the coaching centres for certain exams. For instance, the economy of Kota in Rajasthan revolved around the IIT-JEE. Students come to this town from all over North India. The coaching centres get them admission in Plus 2 and train them for the entrance exam. Last year, some 1.4 lakh students took the common admission test (CAT) for the Indian Institutes of Management and 1.5 lakh students wrote IIT-JEE.

Mr Puri said students were now seeing law as a viable option and the image of an out-of-work lawyer sitting under a tree in the court compound is no longer relevant. The entrance exam for the five-year integrated law exam is booming with about 15,000 students writing the exam in 2004 compared to 2,000 students who wrote the exam five years ago.

Intel Capital is a strategic investor in the company. This year, the company hopes to register a turnover of Rs 42 crore and is targeting a turnover of Rs 60 crore next fiscal, he said.

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